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Medicine | BRIEFLY

Pancreatic cancer likelier in diabetics

August 08, 2005|From Times wire reports

Middle-aged and older Americans who are newly diagnosed with diabetes also appear to have a higher risk of deadly pancreatic cancer.

For three years after their diagnosis with diabetes, patients have eight times the risk of developing pancreatic cancer, researchers at the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center have found. Diabetes itself may be an early symptom of the hard-to-treat cancer, the researchers said.

"Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect until it is in an advanced stage, leaving little hope for patients," said Dr. Suresh Chari, who led the study. This "leads us closer to finding indicators that will allow earlier detection and treatment."

Writing in the August issue of the journal Gastroenterology, Chari and colleagues said they studied 2,122 patients from Rochester, Minn., age 50 and older who were diagnosed with diabetes between 1950 and 1995.

Pancreatic cancer is uncommon -- 18 of the patients were diagnosed with the cancer within three years.

Chari's team compared this rate with that expected for people of similar age and sex without diabetes. The group with newly diagnosed diabetes had eight times the expected rate.

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